US trade mission brings over 100 companies to African continent

23 September 2015

Over 100 US companies participated in a week-long trade mission to Africa with stops in the continent's eight leading economies, including South Africa. The delegation, part of the Trade Winds initiative of the US Department of Commerce, is intended to expose US companies to investment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa. To date, it represents the largest US government-sponsored trade mission to Africa.

Among the countries visited were Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania, and South Africa. Once there, US companies meet with government leaders and potential business partners already based in Africa.

“Trade Winds-Africa is a critical element of our Doing Business in Africa campaign, an unprecedented whole-of-US government effort to deepen commercial engagement between the US and African countries,” reported Mr Selig, US Under-Secretary of Commerce for International Trade.

Under the campaign, US companies have announced new deals worth more than $14bn; the secretary of commerce has established the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa; and Obama has announced the Power Africa campaign, which will contribute to the Africa’s electrification efforts, adding 30,000 new megawatts of electricity generation capacity to this part of the world.

The US is interested in long-term investments, described Marcus Jadotte, US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis and head of the trade mission.

 

“We're focused on local workforce development, supporting the development of infrastructure and investing in the communities in which we do business,” he said, adding that efforts are being made to boost the sheer number of U.S. companies already invested on the continent.

This highlights another element of the burgeoning commercial relationship between the US and Africa. Earlier this year, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was renewed for another 10 years, extending duty-free access to the US for Sub-Saharan African countries. (See Bridges Africa, 15 May 2015)

ICTSD reporting: “US Trade Mission Seeks to Boost Investment in Africa”, Voice of America News, 20 September 2015; “U.S. Department of Commerce’s Africa trade mission visits Ethiopia”, East Africa Trade Hub, 18 September 2015; “U.S. Businesses Visit Ethiopia As Part of Largest-Ever U.S.-Led Trade Mission to Africa”, AllAfrica, 17 September 2015; US-Africa to make trade history, AGOA Info, 16 September 2015.

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